EAGLES OVER LONDON (1969)
CAST: Frederick Stafford, Francisco Rabal, Luigi Pistilli, Van Johnson, Ida Galli, Renzo Palmer, Edy Biagetti, Luis Davila, Jorge Rigaud, Ugo Adinolfi, Eduardo Fajardo and Attilio Dottesio.
REVIEW: Eagles over London is one of the best of the original Italian war action-epics I've seen. It one features a decent international cast and a slew of great action sequences. Also, it's not purely and epic and not purely an action film; there's a refreshing mix of both genres.
As the British invade Dunkirk, several German saboteurs infiltrate their forces. They kill a squad of English troops and take their ID tags. Frederick Stafford, the English platoon leader, finds the dead men and realizes their IDs are missing. Upon returning to England, he heads efforts to locate the saboteurs before they can blow up radar installations along the coast.
The film boasts a good international cast: Frederick Stafford, though dubbed, is pretty convincing as the Hungarian-English Captain. Van Johnson does a corny bit as an English Air Marshall and even participates in a few aerial battles. Francisco Rabal is very good as the German officer who becomes close friend with Stafford; Stafford realizes who he is and must face him during the bone-shattering climax. (Think Jack Kelly and Joachim Fuchsberger in Commandos) Familiar hottie Ida Galli turns in an above-agerage, though unimportant performance as Stafford's girlfriend. She has little point in the story except to chew up time and fill a small plot hole. I must also note the presence of Luigi Pistilli as the dastardly Nazi group leader. The man was magnificent in the Sergio Leone westerns and is great here as well.
The battle sequences range from superb to incredibly corny. The aerial dogfights involve a mix of live action, miniatures, and poorly edited black and white stock footage. The ground combat scenes are often confusing -- but exciting -- since the British and German infiltrators wear the same uniforms. There's also some great cinematography -- this appears to be filmed on location in England and looks very convincing. The music score is typical adventure type stuff but does the job. Much of the combat footage found itself recycled in Umberto Lenzi's FROM HELL TO VICTORY in 1979. Castellari knew what he was doing in mixing all of the elements of a good action film and it's films like these that make him famous.
I'd have to highly recommend this movie for it's great cast, good action sequences and strong, solid direction by Castellari.
SGT. SLAUGHTER'S RATING: 4 Bullets